Unifying Alabama's Traffic Safety Efforts
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Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is the nation's largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every eight minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP.

MADD's success is measured in the number of lives saved. Drunk driving fatalities have declined 27 percent since 2006, which means that, with the help of the community, MADD has saved thousands of lives since the launch of the Campagin to Eliminate Drunk Driving. Statistically, one in three in this country will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime. MADD's goal is to change this number by five percent in 2013.

MADD's mission is to stop drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking!

If you or someone you know has been impacted by a drunk driving crash in Alabama. Please let me know. Help is only a phone call away
. To date, MADD's work has saved 300,000 lives...and counting.

For more information, visit www.madd.org.

In Support of DAs, and Courts Mission to Protect the Public, Save Lives

By Pamela Morton

Since our inception, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has had a special bond with law enforcement. For good reason: We both have as our core mission protecting the public and saving lives.

As our name indicates, MADD’s focus is preventing drunk driving and saving families from the pain, heartache and grief from driving-under-the-influence crashes. We work directly with state troopers, sheriffs and police departments to assist victims and their families, to discourage drinking and driving, and encourage responsible public policies that reduce the occurrences of DUI crashes.

MADD Alabama also has developed a special bond with the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and its “Under Age, Under Arrest” initiative. For the past four years, MADD mothers and other volunteers who have lost loved ones to drunk driving have traveled the state with the “Under Age, Under Arrest” team to share with students the dangers of underage and binge drinking and the terrible toll they take on families.

There is another partner we count as key in the fight against drunk driving. That is our court system, including the local prosecutors who work hard to bring justice to victims of drunk driving.

As you know, Alabama faces very serious challenges with its General Fund. Across the State, district attorneys and their staffs – the people whose job is to prosecute and hold accountable those who drink and drive – are finding it more difficult to do their work because they simply do not have sufficient funding.

That is why I, on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Alabama, support badly-needed additional funding, particularly for our district attorneys and courts, to more adequately protect the public. Currently, the State is considering a modest five-cent increase in alcohol revenues, all of which would be earmarked to protect the public.

As victims services coordinator for MADD Alabama, I work regularly with district attorneys and judges. Our involvement in a drunk-driving case begins immediately after a crash. We meet with victims and their families – we call them “victim’s survivors” – to comfort and support them as they go through what often is a difficult, emotionally draining legal process. We are with them at trial, at sentencing and at parole hearings.

Perhaps one of the lesser-known roles MADD volunteers play is speaking directly to drunk-driving offenders, hopefully before their actions claim lives. Working with judges and prosecutors, MADD victim survivors speak at victims impact panels for which DUI offenders are required by courts to attend.

They tell their stories: like that of a star college basketball player whose life was cut short by an intoxicated driver traveling on the wrong side of the road; a wife who lost her husband and nearly her life and the life of her son when a speeding drunk driver crashed into their vehicle; and a mother who wakes up every day crying for the son she see will never see again.

These “victim’s survivors” live with pain every day. They volunteer to help prevent other parents, spouses, brothers and sisters, grandparents, uncles and aunts from having to experience the same pain.

Their work is difficult. So, too, is the work of our prosecutors. Many struggle to meet payroll. Others don’t have the money needed to pay for experts or for witnesses to travel to ensure that justice is served.

Alcohol isn’t just a problem on our roads. It plays a major role in many other crimes.

For example, alcohol is a factor in 40 percent of all violent crimes, according to the US Department of Justice. In fact, 37 percent of the nearly 2 million convicted offenders in prison today report they were drinking at the time of their arrest.

The reality is alcohol is more associated with violent crimes – murder, rape assault, child and spousal abuse, etc. – than any illegal drug.

That’s why the measure to raise additional funds for our district attorneys and the court system through liquor revenue is so critical.

Already, two counties benefit from similar funding measures thanks to local bills passed in recent years. Several other counties are pushing measures to do the same.

It makes sense for this funding to be available for all district attorneys. The best and surest way to make that happen is for the ABC Board to support additional funding that goes to our law enforcement community. All of the funds raised will go to DAs and the courts.

On behalf of MADD Alabama and our supporters, and for the cause of justice, I urge the board to take this small step to ensure our prosecutors have the resources they need.

Pamela Morton of Montgomery is State victims services coordinator for Mothers Against Drunk Driving Alabama.

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Together We Can Make a Difference
Millions of people worldwide do it. Many say “What’s the harm, I got home safely and no one was hurt?” Just because you made it home safely to your bed does not mean that you’re making a right decision. When putting those keys in the ignition and driving away after drinking you are not only putting your life at risk but you are risking the lives of all those you come across while driving.
Poor Decision Making
Alcohol affects you in a way that changes your judgement, depth perception as well as vital motor skills required to drive safely. Its easy to think you are driving normally when truly you are not. When the police take notice you could be hit with a DUI/DWI. This is the best case scenario. Getting into an accident your life could be lost as well as any others who too are involved in this accident. According to 2009 drunk driving statistics there were 10,839 traffic fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. This is those whose lives were lost not the total number of alcohol related accidents, or the number of individuals arrested for drinking and driving.

Is drinking and driving more important than your legal status or life? Take a cab, protect yourself as well as others on the roadways, don’t become another drinking and driving statistic. Operating a motor vehicle while sober can be difficult in itself, adding alcohol or other intoxicants into the mix is putting your life and the lives of others on the roadways at risk. Make the right choice and put your keys down.
The Legal Repercussions of Drinking and Driving, DUI/DWI
The sound of a siren, the red flashing lights and a person in uniform knocking at your driver side window. An officer has pulled you over for suspicious driving. If the officer smells a strong odor of alcohol, you exhibit slurred speech or general incoherence you will be asked to exit your vehicle and move to the side of the road where you will undergo field sobriety testing. If you fail to demonstrate the proper motor skills or judgment to safely operate a motor vehicle during these field tests, the officer can then ask permission to perform a blood alcohol content test, commonly abbreviated BAC. In most states the legal limit for BAC is .10%, however many states have adopted a lower BAC of .08%. Failing these tests will result in a ride in the back of a police car, a night in jail and charges of a DUI or DWI. You are now facing the legal repercussions of drinking and driving.

All 50 states have taken serious action when it comes to individuals that DUI, driving under the influence, or DWI, driving while intoxicated. There is zero tolerance, all violators will be arrested and charged accordingly.
A DUI, driving under the influence, is the act of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level, BAC, over the legal state limit. If you are arrested and charged for a DUI the state will prosecute you accordingly. First offense typically resulting in loss of license for 1 year, as well as, federally mandated outpatient alcohol abuse program and probation. Those who have had multiple DUI’s will most likely be prosecuted to the fullest ability of the law, which varies with each individual state jurisdiction. Regardless to if this is your first offense or second if in an accident while DUI you will be fully prosecuted, if an individual is killed as a result you will too be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
A DWI, driving while intoxicated, is too the act of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level, BAC, that is over the legal state limit. If a law officer suspects you of DWI you will undergo a field sobriety test, breathalyzer test and/or blood test to determine intoxication level. The legal repercussions of a DWI are more severe in comparison to an DUI. If you are found guilty of an DWI, you will be charged with drinking and driving. The legal repercussions of an DWI vary with each individual state jurisdiction, often resulting with time in jail, federally mandated alcohol treatment programs and loss of drivers license for “x” amount of time.
Making The Choice Not to Drink and Drive
According to National statistics, an average of 12,000 people die every year in DUI-related accidents. There is an average of 900,000 arrested each year for DUI/DWI and a full 1/3 of those are repeat offenders. While National averages have dropped by half over the past 35 years there is still an ongoing problem with drinking and driving. The solution to this problem does not just rest in the hands of law enforcement to find these violators and prosecute them but within each and every person to make the conscious choice not to drink and drive. There is always a better option. Keep the roadways safe along with your loved ones and the loved ones of others by not drinking and driving.
Contact MADD
If you or a loved one has been affected by a drunk or drugged driving crash, MADD is here to help. Please contact Pamela Morton at:

Office | 334.277.7722
Mobile | 334.221.3149
Fax | 888.403.2294